Should a Florida Court Be Able to Force a Three-Year-Old Boy to Get Circumcised?

Sat, 17 May 2014 10:23:02 PDT

Ready for a co-parenting doozy? Dennis Nebus, the father of Chase, a three-year-old Florida boy, wants his son to be circumcised. Chase’s mother, Heather Hironimus, wants Chase to grow up with an intact foreskin. Now Florida’s courts are involved, and the case is turning the spotlight back on the contentious debate between pro– and anti–male circumcision activists.

Back in 2012, the two parents signed an agreement that said that Nebus would handle Chase’s circumcision, including making all the doctor’s appointments and paying for related medical expenses. But when it came time for little Chase to be snipped, Hironimus, who now considers herself to be an “intactivist”—someone who considers circumcision to be male genital mutilation and works to ensure that boys retain their foreskin—decided she didn’t want the procedure to take place. As a result, the warring parents ended up in court.

According to Broward/Palm Beach New Times, the documents submitted to the court on behalf of Hironimus say that the circumcision is “not medically necessary, and she did not want to have the parties’ son undergo requisite general anesthesia for fear of death.”

However, reports the paper, Hironimus struck out with the lower court judge, Jeffrey Gillen, who cited evidence that ties circumcision to a lowered risk of HIV infection. Gillen declared that the original parenting agreement is still valid and gave Chase’s father the green light to make a doctor’s appointment.

“Putting aside what they agreed to, if you’re going to enforce this contract, you have to look at what is the best interest of the child,” Hironimus’ attorney, Taryn Sinatra, told New Times. “The best interest of the child should always trump” any agreement, she said.

Hironimus immediately appealed and has now been granted an emergency stay by a higher court. A stay-at-home mom, she’s started a fund-raising page to help with the legal costs. “I am pleading with fellow intactavists, parents and all others to help me save my son, his foreskin, his rights and hopefully other children from allowing the ‘system’ to make these decisions,” she writes on the page.

Nebus hasn’t made any public comment about why, if he wanted his son circumcised, he waited so long to take him in for the procedure. (Perhaps he was having second thoughts too?) Either way, the little boy is caught in the middle of the drama, which is sure to play out further in the courts next week. 

Related stories on TakePart:

Genital Mutilation Inflicted on 73 Percent of Kurdistani Women

Pediatrics Group Says Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks, but Parents Must Decide

A Drop in Circumcision Rates Could Mean Billions in Healthcare Costs

Original article from TakePart